An Interview w/ Kid Fiction
We have been lucky enough to chat with Australian multi-dimensionalist Kid Fiction, who has been a musician in one form or another for as long as he can remember. A deep and harmonizing transcendence of influences and experimentation have brought him to where he is today - amidst the long-awaited release of his self-titled, debut EP - and more than anything amidst a phase change. He has been writing and performing under his current moniker for 9 years, and producing music for 17, but this project is the first that bears his name.
And what a debut it is. Through his life flooded with a vast array of music and experience across a wide breadth of stylistic changes, Kid Fiction has come to produce a sound unlike anything we've ever heard. Comparison is of pretty much no use when trying to describe the man that we have become fond of labelling an auditory chi architect.
With a career and a vast canon that seem to float in the void between dreamy, effervescent electronic production and ethereal, tangible, yet somehow powerful vocals, he has successfully amassed a strong cult following of fans who come to enjoy his music for a wide variety of reasons. Long story short, his music and his nature are of a unique and beautiful taste, and that’s why we all like him.
RNGLDR: As music continues to grow and expand, it seems more and more that the traditional virtues of genre are no longer relevant. So, if you had to describe your sound with the made-up name of a style, what would you call it?
Kid Fiction: I really don't like to label things. Once they have a name they tend to loose what makes them special to begin with.
Genres are almost always invented by irresponsible journalists. They are fictions that don't really exist in the real world. I mean, there are always waves of cultural interest that peak and inevitably come crashing down, but the white water on the other side is always much more interesting... that's where I'd like to spend my time.
RNGLDR: We publish a weekly series called Dream Venue that takes the reader on a hypothetical journey leading to the perfect live show in the perfect setting. If you could have one evening culminating in the concert of your dreams, how would it unfold and who would perform?
Kid Fiction: Chernobyl. 5 footed beavers. 6 headed DJs. DMT in the cool aid. Free trips on the Ferris Wheel. Nangs at sunrise.
RNGLDR: How about in the opposite direction - what is your Dream Venue as the artist performing?
Kid Fiction: You don't play to rooms you play to people. I'd be happy in a shoe box as long as people were vibing. I'd also be really happy at Coachella. You live and hope I guess.
RNGLDR: Every week, we also publish an article discussing possible collaborative projects that we want to see in the music industry. Who would you like to see work together, and why?
Kid Fiction: Umm... The Chicago footwork thing has lost a bit of steam in the last few years, which is a pity. I'd love to see some of those Teklife guys writing more with rappers and vocalists. Possibly also some African artists.
I'd also love to see more established producers do soundtracks for film and television. Two of my fav producers have made that jump recently, Clark and Oneothrix Point Never... actually, both signed to warp, with Mark Pritchard assumably not far behind.
RNGLDR: Who would be the artist, dead or alive, that you would most want collaborate with, and why?
Kid Fiction: There comes a point in every track I'm working on where I stop and say "man, Flowdan would really kill it on this". It's just iconic. I think his tracks with the bug have left such a deep impression on my psyche.
I'd love to work with some modern jazz artists at some point too... Robert Glasper is someone I'd love to work with. All those scattered grooves and painted chords... I feel like I would know exactly what to do with them in the studio.
RNGLDR: What is the thing you think is missing most from the current music scene?
Kid Fiction: I think there is an apparent lack of politics in music in 2018. Maybe it's a reaction the constant stream of bad news that fills up our social media feeds, or maybe it's the hangover from a comparatively sane Obama era world but it seems out of place it our time. Things are critical, and people know it, young people especially know it. But that cultural wave has yet to make it's way into popular culture.
RNGLDR: What advice would you give to new artists?
Kid Fiction: Follow the music. Don't get caught up on social media. Don't get too lost in the technical side of things. People can't sing the kick drum and they can't dance to a compressor. Music is about saying something.... so say something! Make a statement! Put your heart on the line. Take a risk.
And fuck perfectionism. Perfect things are almost always boring. "Perfect" is the opposite of "interesting".
RNGLDR: What was the first album/project that you ever bought or downloaded?
Kid Fiction: I bought a Metallica CD cause it was on Beavis's shirt. I was always a rock kid, I played guitar and wanted to be either Jimi Hendrix or Maynard James-Keenan. I hated hip hop and dance music with a passion, until I finished school and started taking pills and going to raves... which I whole-hartedly recommend... finishing school that is.
RNGLDR: The Australian music scene is something that has long not gotten enough global attention, but each and every day, more Australian artists seem to gain a larger worldwide audience. To you, what is the thing that most notably separates music made by Australian artists from others? Is there some sort of underlying commonality that can be attributed to the Australian sound?
Kid Fiction: It's an interesting question. I don't really know the answer. Australia is not an easy place to be a musician. We tend to like people that don't stick out. We don't have a strong musical culture here, people don't like to be seen dancing, they get awkward. We're constantly fighting new laws designed to shut down music venues that operate late at night. And on top of that, there is a low population spread across a very very large area... Which makes it difficult to tour and difficult to find a local audience for anything non-mainstream.
So I guess our artistic successes somehow are both because of, and in spite of all that.
What we do have is a strong local community radio sector and a national youth public broadcaster that discovers and champions Australian music. That keeps Australians listening to Australian artists, which is an important thing in developing a musical identity.
RNGLDR: On the subject, who is your all time favourite Australian artist?
Kid Fiction: I don't know if I have an all time favourite Australian artist to be honest. maybe Mark Pritchard? He's English, but he lives down the road from me, so that half counts. Right now there's actually some pretty cool Australian Hip Hop coming up from the outer suburbs... Worth checking out Triple One, Camouflage Rose, Slim Set, Crooked Letter.
Also worth checking out 30/70 and Godtet. Two amazing bands doing great things here at the moment.
RNGLDR: One of the things we find most attractive in an artist is the presence of multidimensional talent, and you’re certainly in possession of a unique set of skills. In your case, how do you balance production with vocals? Does one drive the other?
Kid Fiction: The vocals flow pretty naturally from my production process. I get excited when a track is starting to come together and I naturally start singing. Sometimes I'm humming a melody that ends up on a synth and sometimes it ends up being the beginning of a song. I worked out that if you mumble some melodies into a microphone, half improvising, when you play it back you'll hear words... so that's usually where I get the first few lyrics from... then'll build a story from there. I sort of see the lyrics/arrangement/production as all part of the same process.
RNGLDR: Obviously the release of the debut EP is amazing news so congratulations there, but we've already heard inklings of further projects in the works… Is there anything you can tell us about that?
Kid Fiction: I have another 4 EPs of material written from the last few years of production. Some of it is quite different to the stuff on this EP, But i'm really looking forward to sending more of that out into the world! Also a few exciting collaborations in the works.... but my lips are sealed!